Ambassador Kathleen Fitzpatrick Remarks at USAID Reinforce Basic Health Service End-of-Activity Conference

Great Seal of the United States

My respects to:

 Your Excellency, Dr. Odete Maria Freitas Belo, Minister of Health

Dr. Odete da Silva Viegas, Director General for Services Delivery

Ms. Domingas Pereira, Executive Director National Institute of Health

Directors, Heads of Departments, and officers from MOH and INS

Covalima Municipality Administrator, Mr. Afonso Nogueira Nahak

Covalima Municipality Health Services Director, Filipe Pereira Lemos

Representatives and officers from UN Agencies

National and international NGOs, friends, and colleagues

 Good morning everyone and welcome to this USAID Reinforce Basic Health Service End-of-Activity Conference. It is an honor to be here with so many health leaders from the Ministry of Health, the National Health Institute, community health centers and other institutions. I would like to personally congratulate you all on your response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, which this activity has supported. And thank you Dr. Odete Maria Freitas Belo and Ms. Domingas Pereira for joining us for this important conference.

Around the world the United States works with partner nations to expand critical health workforces, invest in required infrastructure and logistical support, and improve management and budgetary decision-making processes to be responsive to community needs. My predecessor, U.S. Ambassador Karen Stanton launched USAID’s Reinforce Basic Health Service activity in 2016 with then Vice Minister of Health Dr. Ana Isabel F. S. Soares. Over the past five years this activity has supported the Ministry of Health’s efforts to improve the quality of health services in Covalima Municipality and supported the National Institute of Health’s efforts to train their health workers. USAID’s Reinforce partnership with the MOH has create more accessible, safe and high-quality health services.  In Covalima, USAID partnered with local and regional authorities, and communities to increase the use of health services that reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality. USAID partnered with the National Institute of Health to update training materials and establish sites where newly trained health workers learn to become more competent in clinical skills. The Reinforce activity also enabled the INS to develop a new group of trainers that can train health workers throughout the country with confidence.

Recently, as COVID-19 spread around the world, USAID quickly adapted the Reinforce Basic Health Service program to include critical COVID-19 health messaging, community engagement, and health provider training. Today we are here to celebrate this partnership and the success of this program. We can look forward to learning more about the results of this partnership from today’s presentations and videos. The United States Government’s goal in the health sector is to help create a health system that is resilient and self-reliant. A resilient and self-reliant health system is a health system that is well-governed, operating accountably, efficiently, and effectively. It is a health system that is responsive to public health needs and can adapt when necessary – be it a pandemic, natural disaster, or other crisis – without risking interruption of essential health services and avoiding backsliding of fragile gains. This assistance will help the GOTL to pursue Timor-Leste’s journey to self-reliance.

This activity, the United States’ $70 million contribution to Timor-Leste’s health sector since 2002 and our recent $3.3 million contribution to help Timor-Leste prevent the spread of COVID-19 demonstrates that the United States Government stands by Timor-Leste in both stable and challenging times.  We look forward to continuing this partnership, developing a more resilient and self-reliant health system and learning how we can best provide support to Timor-Leste.

Thank you.